JEFFERSON — Marion County Chamber of Commerce has a new face in the office with Tina Harris taking over as Chamber Executive Director for outgoing Director Kari Alexander earlier this spring.
Coming on board in late February, just as the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic hit local East Texas communities and began shutting down businesses, Harris took on her new position at the Chamber.
“I started this position the second week of February,” Harris said on Wednesday. “I love Jefferson and I enjoy working with businesses and doing what I can to help and promote them, while continuing to meet new people.”
Though most businesses in the tourist heavy town of Jefferson have been closed by shelter in place orders, Harris and her Chamber have been doing what they can to help promote restaurants, grocery stores and service stations that have remained open by spreading the word about their offered services online and on social media.
“We’re trying to help them and keep them updated,” Harris said.
Once the pandemic’s social distancing guidelines are reduced and businesses are allowed to open their doors, Harris said it’s her intention to hit the ground running.
“I want to grow the Chamber’s membership and work with our businesses and community to host more events to draw more visitors here,” she said.
The Chamber currently has about 140 businesses in its organization as of February, outgoing Executive Director Kari Alexander previously said.
Harris said her most recent post before taking the Jefferson job was at an accounting firm in Shreveport but before that, she worked as the Human Resources Director at Jefferson based Norbord.
“I’m originally from Louisiana but have lived in Marshall for about seven years now and I worked at Norbord years ago,” she said. “That’s when I fell in love with Jefferson and I’m excited to now be working back in East Texas closer to home and my family.”
While many of the Chamber’s spring and early summer events have been canceled due to COVID-19, Harris said she is looking forward to this fall when some of the organization’s events might be able to be carried out without a hitch.
“I’m excited to meet everyone work with our great businesses here in Jefferson,” she said. “I’ve really been enjoying being back here in Jefferson.”
The Chamber has an updated list on its website and Facebook page of currently open businesses in Jefferson so patrons can continue to support their favorite local businesses during this time.